In the early 2000’s, Hollywood starting cranking out movies about young women who had dreams of careers in entertainment, but their dreams were stymied by life’s circumstances.
In Honey (2003), Honey Daniels (Jessica Alba) has dreams of becoming a professional choreographer. Michael Ellis (David Moscow) is a record producer who can make her dream a reality. But when Michael wants more than a professional relationship, Honey finds that her career maybe over before it has begun.
Are the critics wrong? Yes and no. Is the movie predictable and too reliant on dancing to move the plot forward? Yes. But at the end of the day, the movie is fun and harmless. Sometimes we need a movie that is fun and harmless.
In Coyote Ugly (2000), Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo) is an aspiring singer/songwriter who has just moved to New York City. Unable to start her career, she takes a job bar tending at Coyote Ugly. The owner, Lil (Maria Bello) is initially unsure about the new hire, but Violet soon comes out of her shell, both a singer/songwriter and a bar tender.
Are the critics wrong? Again, yes and no. Is Violet’s story new? Absolutely not. But Coyote Ugly is one of those movies that is perfect for a rainy weekend afternoon. It’s not Shakespeare and it’s far from Oscar worthy, but it’s not a bad way to kill a couple of hours.
Imagine putting in a room a group of Janeites and asking them which is their favorite Jane Austen book. The answers may surprise you.
The 2007 film, Jane Austen Book Club, based upon the book by Karen Joy Fowler bring together five women and one man, all to discuss the novels by Jane Austen. They soon find how much their lives begin to resemble their favorite Jane Austen characters.
Sylvia’s (Amy Brenneman) marriage to Daniel (Jimmy Smits) has just ended. Her friends, Jocelyn (Maria Bello) and Bernadette (Kathy Baker) organize the book club to draw Sylvia’s attention away from her ex-husband. They recruit Sylvia’s daughter Allegra (Maggie Grace) who falls in love with another woman while skydiving, Prudie (Emily Blunt), a teacher who is considering having an affair with a student, Trey (Kevin Zegers) because she feels like she is drifting apart from her husband (Marc Blucas) and Grigg (Hugh Dancy), who is joins because he is attracted to Jocelyn.
I saw the movie first and then read the book. Normally the book is better than the movie, but the book was horrible and the movie is enjoyable. I have a general rule that if I cannot get past the first couple of chapters in a book, it’s not very good. What I enjoyed about this movie is that I know and understand the conversations these characters have about the Austen novels. I’ve had these same conversations with my Janeite friends. This movie shows that Jane Austen’s writing is timeless and her characters transcend the early 19th century English countryside in which they lived.